(CMR) Watersports operators with expired Wildlife Interaction Zone (WIZ) permits who apply for a new license before 31 July 2022 will have their fees waived in an effort by the Cayman Islands Government to support the economic recovery of operators impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To operate within the two WIZ areas in the Cayman Islands – Stingray City and Sand Bar – commercial vessels must possess a valid permit and display the new purple 2023 decals issued by the National Conservation Council.
Minister of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency, the Hon. Premier G. Wayne Panton said Cabinet’s decision to waive these fees temporarily would support the financial recovery of watersports businesses.
“This waiver will benefit up to 270 vessels whose owners, operators and employees have been significantly affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic,” he said.
“The opportunity to come – literally – face to face with our marine life at Stingray City and the Sand Bar is one of those ‘only in Cayman’ moments that draws visitors to our islands year after year. The watersports operators and guides who facilitate these experiences are valuable ambassadors for our community, culture, and marine environment; Government is proud to support them through this fee waiver program,” he added.
Vessels permitted to operate in the Wildlife Interaction Zones are required to abide by specific rules as laid out in the National Conservation Council Directives, which guide the sustainable enjoyment of these unique marine ecosystems.
For more information on the license conditions, visit: https://doe.ky/conservation-law/marine-park-regulations-maps-and-conservation-laws/wildlife-interaction-zones/
The waiver only applies to applicants who previously held a WIZ permit that expired between 30 January 2020 and 30 January 2022. Operators must apply for their WIZ permit by 31 July 2022 in order to be eligible for the waiver.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development advised the total revenue being waived is not expected to have a material impact on the Government’s 2021 and 2022 forecast financial performance or compliance with the Principles of Responsible Financial Management.
To learn more about the WIZ areas, visit: https://doe.ky/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WIZ-NS-zones-2018-maps.pdf